Blind veteran unable to march at Cenotaph will mark Remembrance Sunday online

Tony Harbour
Tony Harbour (PA Media)
8:41am, Sat 07 Nov 2020
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A blind veteran unable to march at the Cenotaph this weekend because of the pandemic will instead join others online.

Tony Harbour, 85, will experience very different Remembrance Sunday commemorations in 2020 as a result of Covid-19.

The virus has meant the traditional service and march will be drastically reduced this year, which has prevented him and other veterans from joining in.

Instead, Mr Harbour, from Brighton, and more than 100 other blind veterans will have the opportunity to get together virtually in “listen and join in” parties, assisted by Blind Veterans UK.

Remembrance Sunday (PA Media)

This will help to keep isolated blind veterans connected at such an important time, the charity said.

Mr Harbour said: “Remembrance is a very special time of year for me. My father fought in the First World War and I wear his medals with pride on Remembrance Sunday.

“This year I will particularly be remembering my fellow blind veteran Ron Freer, who sadly passed away at the age of 104 earlier this year. I’d known him for over 30 years through the charity.

“He was like a brother to me. It’s very sad not to be able to go to London but I’ll be sat at home watching on TV with a photo of Ron.”

Mr Harbour was part of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Police Force from 1953 to 1961 and was stationed in Gibraltar and the UK.

Remembrance Sunday (PA Media)

It was later in life that he lost his sight to glaucoma. After several unsuccessful operations, he was registered blind in 2009.

Fortunately, Mr Harbour was already aware of Blind Veterans UK through his volunteering work with the charity.

He said: “They really are fantastic. Even during this awful pandemic my community support worker has been calling me on a weekly basis to make sure I’m fine and have everything I need.

“It’s a brilliant feeling knowing that they’re always only a phone call away, no matter what happens.”

The chief executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin, said: “This year will be a Remembrance like no other and it’s such a shame that veterans like Tony won’t be marching proudly at the Cenotaph.

“The isolation caused by Covid and experienced by our blind veterans can be just as harmful as the virus itself.

“That’s why we will be doing all we can to ensure they remain connected to each other and the outside world through the Remembrance period and beyond.”

Visit blindveterans.org.uk” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>http://blindveterans.org.uk”>blindveterans.org.uk to learn more about the charity and how you can support its vital work.

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